La Folia reviews John Harbison: Ulysses

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La Folia
January 1, 2009

As a grand ballet, Harbison's immense Ulysses is something of an enigma and an anachronism: The composer fills 80 minutes absent a hope for choreography with a lissome program and vocabulary that recall music of a less dissonant era. There's even an ondes Martenot -- for Circe of course. We detect throughout sly touches and eloquence the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) handles with aplomb. BMOP appears to have assumed the mantle once held by the Lousiville Orchestra, shepherding and recording a swath of modern, if not quite modernist, music.